Duluth Loses Out on Google High-Speed Network

Google announced Wednesday that it will build its first ultra high-speed network in Kansas City, Kansas-dispelling recent rumors that Duluth would be the chosen city.

After a year-long competition through which more than 1,000 cities vied to be the first to get Google's ultra high-speed network, Kansas City, Kansas, has won the ultimate prize.

Mountain View, California-based Google announced its selection on Wednesday, dispelling recent rumors that Duluth was the top contender to get the network.

Google launched its “Fiber for Communities” program in February 2010. More than 1,000 communities submitted an entry to become the first city to get Google's high-speed fiber network, which features speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second-more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today.

Twenty-four cities in Minnesota applied to get the high-speed network, including Duluth, which was rumored to be a frontrunner in the competition after it drew attention from a YouTube video featuring Mayor Don Ness jumping into Lake Superior.

The city also created a buzz when it jokingly pledged to name its firstborn males “Google Fiber” and firstborn females “Googlette Fiber,” which was in response to Topeka, Kansas, vowing to change its name to “Google, Kansas” for a month.

Ness said in a statement that although the city didn't snag the ultimate prize, he is confident that the process has strengthened it.

“The Google initiative effort was very positive for Duluth,” Ness said in the statement. “While we were not selected in this round, the benefits of our effort extend well beyond this single opportunity.”

Ness added that in the past year, $250 million worth of fiber projects with a connection to Duluth have been announced, and the city's IT network and connections both locally and nationally have been strengthened exponentially.

In its announcement, Google said that Kansas City met its goal of finding “a location where we could build efficiently, make an impact on the community, and develop relationships with local government and community organizations.”

Google has signed a development agreement with the city and plans to begin offering service in the first quarter of 2012.

For a full list of cities that applied to become the first to get Google's high-speed network, click here.